Discover how Deck13’s team designed a fantasy world and gameplay based on sand magic.
Hi everyone, we are Deck13’s Sven Hammer, Principal Technical Designer, and Lila Grimaldi, Narrative Designer. We’re bringing you Atlas Fallen on May 16, an epic and explosive action-RPG where you’ll play as a hero who rises against the reign of a tyrannical god. You’ll explore a semi-open, sand-covered world called Atlas and battle mythical creatures. Your heroic abilities come from a magical artifact, and we’re here to tell you about its lore and mechanics!
The Essence of Atlas
In the world of Atlas, Essence is at the core of everything. All organic things and each particle of its sand-covered surface are made of it. An ancient form of magic built its powers on Essence, but its knowledge has been long lost. One day, our hero stumbles upon the remains of this magic in the form of a centuries-old artifact: the Gauntlet.
The Gauntlet gives its wearer control over the Essence present in their surroundings. Thus, they can manipulate Essence grains found in objects, structures, elements, and change their structural integrity, reassemble or destroy them. Our hero will use it to shape the sand around them into various weapons during combat. The gauntlet’s ability to manipulate its surroundings allows players to propel themselves into the air for epic vertical movements and fast traversal by sliding over the sands of Atlas. The Gauntlet is a very versatile tool!
Reforging the Gauntlet
Unfortunately for our hero, they find a malfunction in the Gauntlet. Forged by a mysterious being, it was dismantled soon after its creation to prevent anyone from wielding its magic again. Two vital components are required: the Catalyzer and the Shards.
The more Essence comes into play, the harder it is to control. The role of the Catalyzer is to gather Essence and channel it into itself, increasing its raw power tenfold. This component has been broken into three fragments called “Catalyst Pieces”, which you’ll have to find and put back together. Collecting a new Catalyst Piece allows you to reforge a part of the Gauntlet, unlocking a new powerful ability in the process. Each Catalyst Piece must be completed with specific Essence-infused objects called “Shards”, which enhance the hero’s control over Essence.
Throughout your journey in the world of Atlas, you will come across those Catalyst Pieces and Shards, and get to gradually augment the capabilities of your Gauntlet and progress further into the game.
The shape-shifting weapon
Once you have the power to manipulate Essence, you can shape the sand around you into various weapons. In order to do so, you must find the corresponding Weapon Remembrance. Three weapons can be found throughout your journey: the Dunecleaver, the Sandwhip and the Knuckledust. They all grow more massive and powerful as you amass Essence during combat, this process is called gaining Momentum.
The Dunecleaver is a heavy weapon that does wonders when it comes to dealing very impactful area-of-effect damage to your foes. Depending on the attacks you are performing, it will take one of two different shapes. One of them is an axe—ideal to perform large sweeps which deal a good amount of damage while destabilizing your target; the other is a hammer—specialized in crowd control, it creates large damage areas when slammed into the ground.
The Sandwhip combines the fast swings of a sword with the wide sweeps of a whip. It’s your fastest, most efficient weapon at building up Momentum and offers a wide variety of mobility options. A great example of this is the Sandwhip Hook: a move which allows you to latch onto your target and pull yourself towards it. This makes the Sandwhip a highly versatile weapon in that you can either use it to keep your enemies at a safe distance while building up Momentum or use its high mobility to quickly in and out of a fight, allowing you to land devastating melee dagger hits that consume Momentum over time.
Finally, the Knuckledust is a fist weapon that covers both forearms and grows into additional pairs of arms as your Momentum builds up. The Knuckledust shines in dealing high damage-per-second on single targets, which makes it a perfect choice to swiftly take out selected threats.
You’ll be able to wield two weapons at a time, which allows you to create a unique loadout with your favorite moves. In addition to these weapons your combat capabilities will be strongly enhanced by the use of Essence Stones. Those will enable you to perform unique and powerful attacks, customizable to your preferred playstyle.
Sand-taming abilities outside of combat
The sand-taming abilities granted by the Gauntlet are not limited to its shapeshifting qualities. Here are three abilities that you’ll also rely on, allowing you to traverse the world of Atlas with speed and power, and to interact with specific objects and structures.
Air dash can be used while airborne, channeling the Essence around you to propel yourself forward and dash through the air. Thanks to this ability, you can easily get to a specific target, reach the next structure to land on, surmount big chasms and cover great distances rapidly.
Raise enables you to lift imposing structures and objects buried in the ground thanks to the Essence in the sand. This ability is crucial for you to uncover hidden treasures and sunken ruins, as well as create new paths over raised structures and even reveal pathways that have long been forgotten.
Crush gives you the ability to rip magical seals and chains apart, which is how you’ll access forbidden grounds—a necessary step for you to progress in your journey and change the course of Atlas’ history.
We hope you enjoyed this introduction to the epic fun you’ll have taming the sand in Atlas Fallen, releasing May 16 on PlayStation 5. Pre-order it now to get the bonus DLC Ruin Rising Pack!